Ancient Buildings – new sails for the windmill at Thornton

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In September 2014, the sails at Marsh Mill were removed with the help of a rather large crane, and taken to the millwrights Owlsworth IJP in Henley on Thames where they have been copied to make a brand new set of sails which will be re-fitted to the mill. The building itself has undergone quite thorough repairs and restoration, including new window frames, repairs to the walls and render, better ventilation, and repairs to the roof (cap) and fantail, before the outside wall was fully re-painted.
One of the largest mills in Europe, Marsh Mill stands at a height of 22.8m (70ft) and is also one of the tallest on the Fylde.
Until 1922 Marsh Mill was a working windmill. It’s what’s known as a ‘gristmill’ – one which grinds grain to flour and it produced wheatflour for bread, crushed barley for animal feed, rye flour and oatmeal.
Until the advent of the steam engine, wind and watermills provided the only source of power for many different processes – from making flour, paper, cloth to hammering metal and extracting oils. You can explore mills that produced, or still produce these products, some restored to working order, some derelict, some still working commercially.
It was built in 1794 by Ralph Slater who was a Fylde Millwright and also built Pilling and Clifton Mills. It was commissioned by Bold Hesketh, uncle of Peter Hesketh (later Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood) who would go on to play a prominent role in the expansion of Fleetwood.
Tragedy struck in May 1930, when a Miss Alice Baldwin and a Mrs Mary Jane Bailey visited the windmill with an interest in purchasing it. However, when both women stepped onto the fantail platform, the platform collapsed and the women fell to their deaths.
In 1957 it was sold to Thornton Cleveleys, later Wyre Council.The mill underwent a two year renovation and the sails finally turned again after sixty years in 1990.

It’s  well worth a visit! Check out the website http://www.wyre.gov.uk/info/200308/leisure_and_tourism/61/marsh_mill

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